SmartSeeds is the seventeenth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across this country and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you.
Mia Myers is a master gardener, landscape designer, and the woman behind SmartSeeds, a premier supplier of rare and exotic seeds from around the world. The company is located in sunny Claremont California, where just 100 years ago, the entire town was Mia’s great grandfather’s lemon ranch! She now lives on the family homestead where she collects and grows a mind boggling array of rare seeds that you won’t find anywhere else. She’s dedicated her life to making sure these seeds, (and their wonderful flavors!) don’t simply disappear. If you’ve got a green thumb, or just wish you had one, SmartSeeds is a wonderland of inspiration, I’m so excited to introduce them to you today.
Right about now a lot of you are scrambling to start your gardens. Spring is springing, or is about to spring, in most of the country and many of us are thinking about planting, whether it’s a small container garden on the deck or a full-on vegetable patch. You hardcore gardeners have had your seeds ready for weeks now, I’m sure, but luckily, it’s not too late to get started. There’s still plenty of spring and summer ahead and SmartSeeds has us covered.
“The seeds we offer are rare because they are not domesticated, hybridized, or genetically modified for human convenience. You won’t find them in your local garden center…”
Mia says that she loves being able to supply plant varieties and flavors from all over the world that people may miss or have trouble finding here. Whether her seeds allow you to return to your roots or explore new flavors, I’m sure you’ll find something intriguing. Growing your own ingredients, even if it’s just a small pot of cherry tomatoes (like the Mexican Midgets, below) on your porch, brings a whole new level of enjoyment to cooking and eating.
“As a Landscape Designer, I learned to build gardens that take care of themselves. If you understand what a plant needs and where it came from, you won’t have to pour chemicals on it, tie it up, mow it down, or beat it into submission.”
I think we can all appreciate things that take care of themselves! SmartSeeds also offers a great Germination Guide on their website to help ensure that your growing goes as smoothly as possible.
SmartSeeds has an amazing array of peppers, which are fun to grow and add color and flavor to so many dishes. There are heirloom seeds from Bolivia, Chile, Tunisia and Trinidad — from the hottest of the hot, to the super sweet. If you love peppers like I do you need to check them out. The plants tend to be small, so you can grow them right in pots on a sunny porch even if you don’t have a garden.
One of my favorite sections on the site is the Garden Collections — Mia has put together carefully curated and functional collections that make fabulous gifts — instead of that obligatory bottle of wine, why not bring your host a beautiful collection of seeds! There are classic Windowsill Herb or Salsa Collections, and even a unique Sushi Garden — that’s everything you need for garden fresh sushi, from the heirloom Japanese sushi rice to the black sesame seeds!
Check out SmartSeeds and let me know what you find! I’m salivating over the gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. With a bit of effort you can expand your culinary horizons beyond the supermarket, beyond the farmers’ markets, and beyond the big seed catalogs and your local nursery. This is exciting stuff, let’s get planting!